By Ned Hickson
As I mentioned several weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a music video by country singer Adam Marshall, whose single "Cowboy Hat" was released last week. Though I haven't actually seen the finished video yet, I can tell you the music is great, that everyone in it is attractive, and they can all dance really well. Which is why I can say, with some certainty, I am not in the final cut.
Yes, I was wearing a cowboy hat and boots.
Yes, I met Adam Marshall.
And yes, I did get so nervous dancing with a "Coyote Ugly" girl that I forgot things like my name, and how to utilize my central nervous system. In my own defense, I didn't realize "Coyote Ugly" was a euphemism for someone at a singles bar who is highly attractive; at least not until I stepped forward to meet my dance partner and politely introduced myself as "Wowwy."
That was pretty much the extent of our small talk, which there is a lot of during a video shoot. That's because for every minute the cameras were rolling, there was at least an hour of preparation time for things like make-up, lighting, sound checks, and administering first-aid to my dance partner. However, the majority of our preparation time was spent on "blocking," which is when the director decides where the "Talent" will be in each shot. As it turned out, the director involved me in this crucial decision-making process several times, often by suggesting,
"Someone please move Ned, he's blocking the Talent again." On the second day of shooting, after recognizing my inability to dance, act, or form a complete sentence in the presence of any "Coyote Ugly" girls, Adam took me aside. We discussed how I could contribute to his video in ways more suited to my particular talents. After a long discussion, we determined this would be by holding his soda between takes. I excelled at this and quickly became known to crew members as "Adam's Soda Guy." This was much better than my previous titles, "Who Is This Guy?" "She Won't Dance With This Guy," and "Someone Please Hog-Tie This Guy."
In addition to the instant prestige I gained, there were also a lot of perks in being Adam's personal "soda wrangler." For example, using my authority to skip to the front of the beverage line whenever I said, "Adam needs a soda." This worked even after they took my bull horn away, and I was forced to make my announcement through a rolled-up issue of Country Weekly. I also insisted on wearing a walkie-talkie so that if we were separated, I could still meet Adam's beverage consumption needs by contacting him on a regular basis. This turned out to be a good idea since, coincidentally, we were separated more and more as the day went on. In fact, there was a frightening two-hour period where we had no contact at all. Fortunately, everything was OK and, according to his producer, Adam had simply misplaced his walkie-talkie after throwing it into a nearby lake. Adam later explained to me that it had nothing to do with being annoyed, and that he was simply demonstrating to a crew member how, as a Marine, he had been taught to lob a grenade.
After two days of watching Adam serenade the camera with his song "Cowboy Hat," I suddenly realized there's really only one thing keeping my own dream of being a country music star from coming true:
A complete lack of talent.
Which isn't to say my dream of country stardom is completely out of reach. Who knows? There's always a chance I could make it to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
Even if it is just to bring Adam a soda.
I'll keep my walkie-talkie handy, just in case.
(I'd like to thank Adam Marshall and his producer, Steven Rotan, for being such gracious hosts and good sports. To check out the video "Cowboy Hat" online, go to www.adammarshallmusic.com, or watch for it later this month on your favorite country music cable channel.)
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.